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Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Hardy M. Cook
Peer Reviewed

Venus and Adonis (Modern)

O, how her eyes and tears did lend and borrow.
Her eye seen in the tears, tears in her eye,
Both crystals, where they viewed each other's sorrow,
Sorrow that friendly sighs sought still to dry;
965But like a stormy day, now wind, now rain,
Sighs dry her cheeks, tears make them wet again.
Variable passions throng her constant woe,
As striving who should best become her grief.
All entertained, each passion labors so
970That every present sorrow seemeth chief,
But none is best; then join they all together,
Like many clouds consulting for foul weather.
By this, far off, she hears some huntsman hallow,
A nurse's song ne'er pleased her babe so well.
975The dire imagination she did follow
This sound of hope doth labor to expel;
For now reviving joy bids her rejoice
And flatters her it is Adonis' voice.
Whereat her tears began to turn their tide,
980Being prisoned in her eye like pearls in glass;
Yet sometimes falls an orient drop beside,
Which her cheek melts, as scorning it should pass,
To wash the foul face of the sluttish ground,
Who is but drunken when she seemeth drowned.
985O hard-believing love, how strange it seems
Not to believe, and yet too credulous.
Thy weal and woe are both of them extremes.
Despair and hope makes thee ridiculous.
The one doth flatter thee in thoughts unlikely;
990In likely thoughts the other kills thee quickly.